When I do nights at Dad’s, we have a simple alarm system which has meant that I can actually go into quite a deep and relaxing sleep, confident in the knowledge that Dad can call me easily if he needs me. This system is a cordless front door bell. Dad has the button by his bed and I have the ringy bit under my pillow, set to ring with Big Ben chimes directly under my ear. It works magnificently.
Two nights ago – DING DONG DING DONG… DING DONG DING DONG
I leap from my snuggly duvet and pleasant dreaming, casting a glance at the clock on the wall as I went. 1.50 am! Strange, actually, seeing as it WAS 1.50 am – the battery in the clock had run down and the clock would have said that time whatever the time really was. But 1.50 it was, as my Dad’s alarm clock confirmed.
I arrive in his room.
“I rang the bell because I am not sure about something. Can you help me? You see, my clock says it is nearly two o’clock. What precisely does that mean?”
“Er… in what way, Dad? What do you want to know?”
“Well, is it nighttime or is it daytime?” (Hmm.. no hint from the degree of darkness, Dad?)
“It’s nighttime, Dad. It’s two o’clock in the night.”
“Ah, that’s OK then. You can go back to bed now, that’s all I wanted to know.”
I head back towards the door.
“Hold on a minute. I wondered whether to get out of bed and stand up for a minute or two, get the circulation going. Is it cold?”
“I’m not sure, Dad, I’ve just got out of bed and I’m wrapped in my dressing gown”
“Well, could you just stand there for a few minutes and see if you get cold so I know whether to get out of bed or not?”
“Dad, just stay in bed. Let me tuck you in and you can go back to sleep for a few more hours. It’ll be warmer in the morning!”
I do manage to stay polite. Honest I do.
Glad the confusion isn’t ALL the time.
Why is it that sometimes life seems to become a series of battles over things which really should be quite simple?
The big one at the moment is getting through to people that, while life is naturally stressful at times and more help is always appreciated (especially as the situation with Dad seems to go on longer and longer), we are actually coping OK…. while on the other hand, this does not mean that we will continue to cope OK if they take away the support currently in place. Also that whether or not we spend Dad’s money (and ultimately our inheritance) on things to make OUR lives easier (note I said “our” not “his”) is actually OUR decision, not that of someone who has decided, without talking to us, precisely what extra support we need to be paying for. £140 per week for someone to sit with Dad while I get the boys’ tea and sit here while they watch a video or go out to play after school is not my idea of good use of money, especially as the paid carers are not allowed to administer drugs, would need me to prepare the meal for them to give him, and would probably just sit there reading a book while he slept most evenings. I’d rather save the money and use it to take the boys away for the weekend again – far better quality time. But it’s a battle to get Social Services to understand that.
Another battle is over this blessed extension. To get the grant from Social Services (if and when I’m entitled to whatever I’m entitled to) I need three quotes from builders, but precise quotes are not really forthcoming until Planning permission and building regs have been gone through, which will be a cost of about £1500 which I can’t afford until I a) know I’m going to get funding for the project anyway and b) get some of that funding in place.
Then there’s the wheelchair. We have a wheelchair on loan from the Red Cross. We had one, which they requested to be returned, and they declared that if he needed one permanently it would have to come from the mobility people at the hospital… but that we could keep another loan one until it arrived. He was assessed, measured up, and then time goes by and we get another call from the Red Cross. “We’d like our wheelchair back, now that his Mobility one’s been delivered”. One small problem. It hasn’t. But apparently Mobility insist that it has. The Red Cross have twice been notified that we now have this new chair and want their old one back. How do you prove that you haven’t been given something? Why on earth would I want to fight over a wheelchair – do they think I’ve stolen it and sold it on the black market?
Then there are the perennial problems with children – what is it about children that makes them so impermeable to common sense? Why can they never just put things away when it would make life so much less wearing for all of us if they did? Why does EVERY trip out have to be preceded by an hour searching for a coat? And shoes?
And my television. Why has that now stopped recording videos? Why does pressing the record button simply eject the cassette? Why is it one thing after another breaking down? And yes, the old problem is back with my fridge (don’t ask!!!!!!!!!) and nobody can understand why.
Still, it’s not all bad. Dad’s so well today that he’s even been to church. It’s like having the old dad back again.